AP Hanoi office embezzler arrested

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Hanoi police announced Nov. 16 they have arrested a Vietnamese woman who allegedly embezzled more than VND5.1 billion (US$242,800 as per the current exchange rate) from the Associated Press news agency's rep office three years ago.

Details about the arrest of Nguyen Thi Van Huong, 38, were not revealed.

According to police, in July 2007, Huong was hired to do administrative work for the press agency's rep office in Hanoi.

Her work included writing paychecks and calculating business trips' expenses for employees and making transactions with banks.

Police said Huong was assigned with writing checks for expenditures and submitting them to the office chief for approval and signature before withdrawing money from the bank.

However, she erased the written amounts (in figures) on the checks, and wrote down bigger amounts to pocket the difference.

Between January and June 2008, Huong allegedly made 17 fake checks to withdraw over VND6.7 billion ($319,000), but sent only over VND1.5 billion ($71,400) to the office's bank account, according to police.

She pocketed more than VND5.1 billion in total, police said.

The investigation into the scam was launched after the AP office sent a written complaint to local police after Huong had fled the city.

A warrant for Huong's arrest was issued later.

Huong was arrested in Hanoi late September this year, the Ha Noi Moi (New Hanoi) newspaper reported Wednesday.

The same day, Hanoi police announced that any other victims of Huong's scams should contact the authorities.

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